Milwaukee has been jamming by coming out with new and improved products over the last couple of years. One thing they have lagged behind on was a cool radio. Well today that comes to an end. Milwaukee introduced a cool new radio that has some pretty cool features.
The first thing you will notice is the nice roll cage to protect the unit. Being on a job site you are almost guaranteed to either drop the radio or have something fall on it. On the front of the radio is where you can control all the functions. While the LCD is large and easy to read, it would be nice if it had a little tilt upwards so if you have the radio on the ground and you're standing, you can read the time or the station. One thing I really like is Milwaukee now added a volume knob instead of buttons to move the sound up or down. I tend to like the knobs better as I can turn it up or down much quicker. I do have to say the buttons on this radio do seem like they are more responsive then their older version. While I complained about the LCD not having a tilt upward, they did implement that in the speakers. The speakers are powered by a 40 Watt amp. As a user you can easily adjust the treble or bass to a specific sound you like. The radio has two mid ranges and two tweeters which while they point forward, they do have a slight tilt upward to help the sound spread farther in a room.
On top of the unit there is a weather sealed auxiliary compartment, which even my iphone with an Otter Box will fit. As you can see in the video below, you can even prop up your ipad. One thing I like is the auxiliary cable is removable. This way you can make it longer or if you damage it, you can replace it. Inside you will also notice a USB port that will allow you to either play music from your phone or charge your phone or ipad. One awesome thing is that even if you are powering the radio with a battery, you can still charge your phone. I have seen some where the unit has to be plugged in to charge your phone. I like how this doesn't. One thing I have noticed if you are charging your cell phone, you don't get any noises through the speakers.
As you know you can power this unit with an M18 battery, but what you may not know is that you can also charge an M18 battery. The power cord wraps around in the back for easy storage. However if you want to power the unit and charge the battery, just plug it in. Now you can jam to tunes and charge a battery. Again, even when charging the M18 battery, I didn't hear any winding noise in the speakers. Just in case you were wondering, yes Milwaukee kept the bottle opener, which is key. I was a little disappointed it didn't have a cooler, but again we can't get everything.
So listening to music is nice on this unit. You can have up to 10 presets. You can also listen to music with the auxiliary cord. Okay, here is the cool thing. This unit has Bluetooth, so you can leave the cord behind. So with powering the unit with an M18 and using Bluetooth, actually it is really cord free. The Bluetooth feature is extremely easy to get set up and works great. No complaints on that at all.
So how does the radio sound? When I am playing music from my phone, the sound quality is awesome. Deep sounds and clear music. When I can find a radio station that does come in, the radio sounds pretty good also. We live about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, but some of the common stations I have had a real problem getting good reception. Now this isn't just a Milwaukee problem. I have still yet to find a good job site radio that actually has good reception.
One thing that would have been nice to see is a couple of outlets on the unit. Not a huge deal and I am sure they didn't include it because it might mess with the sound quality. However it would be a nice feature to have.
Bottom line, the Milwaukee M18 Jobsite radio is a great radio. The ability to charge a battery and use Bluetooth is awesome. While the reception could be better, the overall sound quality is great. If you are a Milwaukee fan and own some of the M18 platform, this would make a nice addition to an already great line of tools.